A Chase Sailing Club youngster insists that sailing has made him more confident and independent as a month of free and low cost RYA Push The Boat Out ‘try sailing’ events launches across the Black Country next weekend (4-6 May).
Daniel O’Connor first tried sailing for free at The Chase SC’s Open Day in 2017 and it proved to be a life-changing experience. Since then sailing has given him a sense of purpose as he finds school difficult and can struggle to cope with everyday life. Last summer, a little over a year after first stepping into a boat, Daniel was runner-up in a national competition - the Panerai Challenger Trophy - through which he was awarded his own Topper dinghy.
If the glorious Easter bank holiday weather has got you thinking about switching off those screens and getting active outdoors, The Chase SC at Chasewater, is opening its doors from 11am on Bank Holiday Monday 6 May for the local community to get on board for a new adventure.
After next weekend, South Staffs SC, near Wolverhampton, and Walsall Outdoor Pursuits, at Sneyd Lake, Bloxwich, welcome anyone to have a go on Saturday 11 May. Sandwell Valley SC on Swan Pool, open their doors on Saturday 18 May, while Aldridge SC on The Swag and Greensforge SC, also near Wolverhampton, will Push The Boat Out the next day (Sunday 19 May). Dudley SC, on Netherton Reservoir, end the month on Sunday 26 May.
All ages and abilities are welcome, with opportunities for children, families, beginners and lapsed sailors, as well as those with disabilities or special requirements for getting out on-the-water. All kit and safety equipment is provided so just bring a pair of old trainers you don’t mind getting wet and your sense of adventure and fun. Find full details of your nearest Push The Boat Out event at www.rya.org.uk/ptbo
I have become more confident and more independent since starting to sail and have also learnt by my mistakes. This is helped in other areas of my life and school because it has made me realise not to give up if I get something wrong but to keep trying until I get it right. Sailing has given me the knowledge that I can be good at something and an activity that is mine.
I am so pleased I learned to sail, it's really fun. I enjoy the speed of the boat most; it’s fast and I feel calm inside. Once my new boat was in the water I was happy and excited, it was strange, I felt more confident because it belonged to me. Now I'd like to do more races, maybe in different places, and learn to sail on the sea. I've also joined the Sea Cadets and will be racing for my squadron."
With so much national focus on physical and mental wellbeing, being on the water gives everyone a chance to get away from modern life, spend time with the family, have fun with friends and just enjoy the feeling of being in the fresh air and closer to nature. A real family day out, many Push The Boat Out venues will also be putting on shore-side activities like BBQs and games for the kids too.
Michelle Gent, RYA Programmes Manager, added:
We are looking forward to another fantastic month of RYA Push the Boat Out events and try sailing opportunities this year. Many people don’t realise that there’s a club and a gateway to the water right on their doorstep and it’s a brilliant opportunity to get involved and find out more!”
More than 390 RYA affiliated clubs and recognised training centres across the UK are inviting people to Push The Boat Out throughout May. Almost 22,000 people regularly go along to their local sailing club every month across the Midlands, getting on the water in small sailboats or windsurfing on the region’s reservoirs, lakes and rivers.
The national RYA Push The Boat Out participation campaign aims to get more people out on the water and the RYA are asking all sailors to #TellAFriend and help spread the word! Check out the the video – https://youtu.be/KOiN2r5vCEc
Picture Caption: The Chase SC’s Daniel O’Connor likes to Push The Boat Out in his new Topper dinghy
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